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tv   Dateline NBC  NBC  June 15, 2012 9:00pm-11:00pm EDT

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see you next time. - ♪ i'm as high as hell ♪ and you're about to get shot ♪ this is all about exposing him. ing his fame and not getting caught. >> they were single and looking for love. but they never saw him coming. >> probably one of the most evil people i've ever met. >> a one-time rap star stealing hearts and they said, stealing money. >> how much did you get burned for? >> probably about $32,000. >> she was panicked. >> but she was determined to get revenge. with a little help from a new friend she found on "dateline" and our hidden cameras. >> you decided to become bait. >> could two women turn the tables?
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>> oh, my gosh. he scared me. >> it appeared like we were on a real date. >> and con the conman. >> i was freaking out. i could feel him patting me down my back. >> if he was a conman. >> rappers go through this all the time. it is a form of extortion. >> the perfect catch. >> welcome to "dateline," everyone. i'm lester holt. if there's one thing conmen count on, it is that they won't get caught. the victims are often so embarrassed to have gotten caught in a scam, they don't call the police. especially if romance was involved. so the conman goes to scam someone else. unless he has the bad fortune to run into a woman like the one you'll meet tonight. she didn't just get mad and give up. nope. she got mad and got even.
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here's dennis murphy. >> i was actually just real excited about meeting him. >> never thought i could love anybody again. >> after a while it really seemed that he cared. >> so here we are, 50,000 years or so down the road in boy meets girl, girl meets boy. and you're about to meet some women on a quest for love. >> i was anxious. i was hopeful. >> you can argue all day about whether social media makes it easier or harder to find a soul mate these days but when their bubbles burst as they all did, these women found internet connectivity just dandy for getting sweet, sweet revenge. there's noel from california. >> that's it. you have to stop this guy. >> esther from mississippi. >> that's when i really started digging. >> danny across the ocean in the netherlands.
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>> it was all about revenge. >> and whitney from ohio said she, too, was stunned by the same guy. >> i'm done. this is not right. >> and who brought all these angry motivated women together? an entertainer, famous back in the day, who found he had stumbled into a hornet's nest. >> it ended badly. a hot juicy story. it's hot. >> the place to start this story is northern mississippi, not far from blues memphis. guitar music around here is as valuable as love, grits and barbecue. >> it is my comforter. a lot of times when i'm at home, i'll put my music in, crank it up, have a glass of wine and sing loud. >> this is esther pilgrim.
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in 2007 she was a maternity nurse in her early 40s living in southaven, mississippi. a single mother raising two teenagers. her marriage of 17 years had finished and she was at loose ends, looking for a long term partner to share her life with. a brief dip back into the dating scene had been painful. >> it is one of those things, don't get back in the water while you're still bleeding because sharks come. >> at the maternity ward where she dealt with high risk pregnancies, she didn't have occasion to meet many men. if she thought the pick-up bars were shark tanks, she was totally naive about what was out there on the internet. >> i think back then i was more trusting. i didn't know any better. >> esther was a little intimidated by the mysteries of a computer so a friend helped her post a profile to an internet dating website. >> esther is very open. she talked a lot about her work. >> another close friend, linda,
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also a maternity nurse, was a little bemused watching esther dip her toes in with mixed results. >> like anyone else who experiences online dating, you go through a lot of rotten apples before you get to the better ones. >> esther's obvious good looks and sunny smile virtually guaranteed a torrent of hits. one that popped up was from a guy with a handle, perfect one69. his profile described him as an entertain we are an athletic build, looking for a serious relationship. >> never married. no children. makes $200 to $300,000 a year. and listed himself as very good looking. >> so were you interested? >> i wasn't interested in doing the long distance relationship because he was in atlanta. i want someone where i can go to walmart with. do the simple things in life. >> but perfectone69 came back with questions nudging her to respond.
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the guy said his name was tim blair. and that he had had long distance relationships before. esther answered back and began an online flirtation with this tim blair. she confided in her virtual pen pal about the rough childhood she had had growing up in foster home from the age of 6. tim responded with his own woeful tales about being a kid on the crime ridden streets of new york in the 1970s. >> that was how he connected with her and bonded with her. and instilled some trust from her. because of the similarities and their childhood. he presented himself almost like a wounded soul to her. >> so you found a kindred soul here. >> right. here was someone who understood my pain. what it was like to be homeless, you know, to be afraid. >> as the pace and intimacy of their messages picked up, esther was delighted to discover a christian man who wanted exactly
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what she wanted. a life of giving to children. >> he wanted a partner where he could work together as a team. and do these things, give back to the community. give back to kids. and i believed him. >> esther was all about caring and giving. both in the maternity wards where she was now, and earlier in her career as a combat medic in the u.s. military. >> you went to desert storm, the first gulf conflict. >> right. >> but what really swung it for esther was her love of music. she said snippets of the biointo google. the search engine coughed up clues that there may be more to tim blair than just entertainer. tim blair, esther discovered, it was was also known by his stage name, tim dog who had successes as a rapper and who had made ultimate music videos like this one, f compton. >> she remembered him. i grew up listening to. this really?
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you listened to rap? this was a shock to me in and of itself. >> if you have an encyclopedic know of early '90s music, you might remember that tim dog was a hip hop artist who had a hit album in the 1990s called penicillin on wax. this contained that signature draft which dised the west coast artists and is seen as one of the first shots in the east coast/west coast feud of the 1990s. when esther asked him if he was in fact tim dog, he seemed flattered. >> he was like, oh, yeah, you know, that humble, that's me. >> did that work for you? >> yeah. i don't like cocky. >> bragging about what he did. >> right. >> but for tim blair, tim dog seemed to be a persona in his rear view mirror. and though he still performed occasionally and made videos like iconic with artists such as kool keith, he focused mainly on production making records for
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others, promoting big name stars. he dropped named like mariah carey and chris brown. so he may have been a little rough around the edges, but with his humility, the shared childhood experiences, the desire to help disadvantaged children and that talent for music, it all added up to affection for the man. she decided she wanted to travel to meet him. >> i was actually just real excited about meeting him. i had not had much opportunity to meet someone who was actually a musician and had that kind of history. >> but good friend linda was thinking, maybe not so fast. >> i just didn't think it was a good idea. i just, i guess i just felt like, you know, if he wanted to see her, he should come to her. >> barely a month before she had met tim online, she drove six hours from her home in mississippi to atlanta, a city bursting with new hot-lanta energy and some of the coolest new soundtracks.
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r & b and hip hop artists and tim's high rise address was in the thick of it all. >> you're pulling up. esther could not have married the merry dance she was embarking on with tim. >> when we come back, a whirlwind weekend and an offer that sounded too good to be true. >> he said he was ready to go. >> when "the perfect catch" continues. ades spinning, paper sanding, and bits turning. let's motor to the only place that carries our favorite tools... for our favorite people... armed with a budget and a mission... and see what happens when we put those tools to work for us. more saving. more doing. that's the power of the home depot. get this ryobi 18-volt drill kit for the new lower price of just $69. do you read in bed? do you read out loud or in your head? do you need a lamp to see?
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in june 2007, maternity nurse esther pilgrim drove from her home in mississippi to atlanta to spend a weekend with tim blair, a man she had met on a dating website and what do you know? he turned out to be a new york hip hop artist known as tim dalton. he had even had a big record back when. but when esther met him face to face for the first time, she was a little disappointed. >> well, he didn't look as good as his picture. that happens. >> surprise, surprise. >> so tim looked a little oriole, a little paunchier than his online photo. that wasn't a deal breaker to esther. besides, he led with honey. >> the first thing he said was something like, you're even prettier in person than you are on your picture.
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and he was charming. >> they quickly picked up in person the conversations they had started online. as tim showed esther his bachelor pad in downtown atlanta. esther was beside herself with the adventure of it all and call her friend linda. >> oh, my god. she was like, you have got to see this place. this is gorgeous. it has a beautiful view. she was being very descriptive about the place where he was living and where she was staying and the things that they were doing. >> so he seemed to have some stuff going on. >> oh, yes. >> that weekend, tim seemed to be juggling a lot of business calls on his cell but he was attentive to esther, too, and there wasn't a hint of his alter ego tim dog on display. >> they went to one of puff daddy's restaurants. they were doing a lot of thing that she wouldn't normally get to do. >> they strolled the city and indulged in atlanta's finer restaurants.
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>> everywhere we went, he was whipping down an american express. >> money didn't seem to be the slightest concern as he squired her around town. they were going to the movies. >> at one point i got cold. he was like, we can go get you a sweater at dillars. i'm thinking a $20 or $30 sweater. you know, my speed. and he pick up $160 sweater. and i'm like, oh, no, that's too much money just to go to a movie. no, if that's what you want, you need it. >> so he's making points with the girl from mississippi, huh? >> right. >> what esther remembers as a nearly perk evening ended back at tim's condo as the beginning of the romance. >> was tim on your dance card by the end of that weekend? >> yes, he was. >> he was a possible companion for you. >> he was. >> she came back in one piece so it all worked out okay. >> after esther drove back to mississippi, she and tim were eager to keep the bloom on this
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new romance. but tim seemed to have a go slow when it came to women in his life. after all, he had been a hip hop name once. >> he was used to women trying to be gold diggers. they wanted his money. >> so you have to prove your intentions to me kind of thing. >> okay. i can do that. i know i'm not a gold digger. >> she said tim will her he was manning to ramp up his music career. give the artist known as tim dog a kick start comeback. over the phone he offered her a business partnership. he told her he would produce a five cd box set collection of his greatest hits. and an l.a. manufacturer was waiting for the green light to start duping off thousands of units. tim told esther there was a handsome little profit for the both of them but tricky timing. his money was tied up in real estate. that's why esther said he was offering her the chance to become a limited partner in the tim dog brand. if she would invest $25,000 in three installments, she would get back $100,000.
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so your understanding is it is a sure thing. these are presold. >> right. he has like 20,000 preorders of these cd box sets. >> tim dog the box set. >> right. what he is telling me, my money is tied up in real estate. i have this deal. and i can wait and do it but it is ready to go. >> all tim needed, he said, was an initial $10,000 deposit to get the first box set ordered and shipped. >> did you have $10,000 in your bank account? >> no. >> she is not frivolous. she is very careful when it come to money. >> $10,000 was a lot of money to this debt-free single mom. yet her son was about to go to college. student loans might not be enough. she had a rethink on tim's offer. >> could you get your hands o 10,000? >> i could through a credit card. i had excellent credit. >> esther found her excellent credit rating could be turned into excellent cash. if she signed up for some pieces of plastic.
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>> he was on three-way line with her and set up these credit cards. for this business venture. >> he verbatim told me how to do it. his favorite was american express. with american express, you can get larger amounts of money. >> so that auguster esther went online and got an american express credit card. >> and then he said, well, you don't know how much you're going to get so go ahead and apply for some others, too. i got four. >> four credit cards. >> uh-huh. >> although shiny new cards gave her access to nearly $30,000. and since tim was the brains behind the deal, it made sense to her that he should also be able to charge things on them. so tim blair became an authorized user on her account. >> i gave him the american express. there were two american express cards and then a discover and the bank of america. >> they had no written business contract and with a pretty good credit line between them, esther
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said tim cautioned don't go on a spending spree. >> with the pieces in place, it was time to make their first $10,000 payment to a company that would burn the box cd set and get tim dog back to the hip hopping streets. >> so he called me the night before and called american express three-way and so they're like, it's good to go for this $10,000. >> once tim told esther the cd manufacturer had been paid, all she had to do now was sit back think and about what she would do with her easy profits when she started rolling in. that and not to forget the next two installments. another $15,000. with business wrapped up, esther drove over to atlanta again to refresh their romance. but this time, tim was distant and cool, she thought. distracted. busy. esther came back home wondering about her future with tim. and their sure-fire investment together after her credit card was charged. >> i was expecting it would be a quick turn-around. after they did the initial
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charge, they froze my account. >> her sparkling line of credit in the deep freeze? did not they know that tim dog the box set was about to drop big? coming up -- >> who did tim blair/tim dog turn out to be? >> evil. probably one of the most evil people i've ever met. >> listen, if i was going to fraud her, i would say my name was bobby joe. i would get a boat and i would be gone. >> when "dateline" continues. it isn't just your mammogram. it's your teenager's first varsity game. it isn't just your annual exam. it's your daughter's wedding. did you know with your health insurance you may now have some preventive benefits with no co-pays or out-of-pocket costs? it isn't just your cholesterol screening. it's all the tomorrows you're looking forward to. learn more at
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other in the summer of 2007, nurse and single mom esther pilgrim found herself in the oldies record business with a man she had met online. she says her new boyfriend, tim blair, aka the former hip hop star tim dog, had persuaded her to invest $10,000 in copies of his cd box set of greatest hits. and she was on the hook for another $15,000. >> she had two children and she was trying to really think, well, this venture may actually help me out and help them in the long run. >> once the box sets were sold, the potential was there, esther thought, for $100,000 return. enough for her son's college.
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she was $10,000 into her investment when she started losing sleep about it. >> you know, you have a gut feeling but you're not really sure. maybe you're just being paranoid. >> esther had authorized tim to use her credit cards to make the first $10,000 payment to the cd manufacturing company. tim she said will her you'll start seeing it pay off in a few weeks' time but there was no check mail from the business deal. only the bill from the credit card company. what in the world was going on? and now here tim was asking for the remaining $15,000 to complete the deal. she said he told her to calm down. >> god has given you this great opportunity. i don't need your money. >> i'm trying to do you this nice favor. >> i thought, yeah, i am being fearful. i was afraid. that's a lot of money. and if you knew me, i would fight you over a dollar at the checkout. >> but after 30 days, 60 days, 90 days, there was no return on
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esther's $25,000 investment. the credit card companies wanted their money with punishing late fees and she didn't have it. beside herself, esther confessed to her good friend linda that she seemed to have waded into a financial swamp, thanks to mr. online from atlanta. >> i was just shocked. it really threw me. i was listening to her and trying to process what she was saying. she was panicked. >> esther was scared, deep in debt, and she said tim wasn't giving her any straight answers about their investment. so she took mat enters into her own hands. she called neo flix directly and demanded to know whether the cds had been shipped. if so, why she hadn't gotten her cash back along with her profit. she said the voice on the other end said the whole order in fact had been processed. the cd box sets had been manufactured and shipped. a sickening feeling came over her. she confronted tim and she said he told her the deal had not
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been wrapped up yet and now he was blaming her. telling her she had ruined the greatest hits venture. neo flix had put the deal on hold after her call made them suspicious. >> once he got what he wanted, all of his compassion, the bonding and sharing, you know, it just shifted to to have something in a whole other hemisphere. it was just, it was gut wrenching for her. >> five months after the start of their handshake arrangement, esther clung to the thinnest strand of hope that her money was still coming back to her. >> surely thinking god did not do this to me. >> but she concluded, he had done this to her. he totally conned her as she saw it. >> so what was really going on here? with these credit cards? >> he was on a spending spree. so of course, three week or so, he maxed them out. >> esther didn't even know the sentence of tim's spending spree because tim had apparently
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changed the mailing address for some of the statements so he received them instead of esther. when she eventually did see the statements, her jaw dropped. pricey meals at atlanta's best restaurants. web buys at go and one beauty, nearly $3,000 worth of music gear. all of it paid for by esther's heretofore spotless line of credit. after five months of being in business with tim dog blair, esther told linda, she had been cleaned out. >> it was hard because i know, esther didn't do this. i know esther didn't do this. then i'm thinking, esther would have told me this first. we would have talked about this. >> did you ever have a conversation like you're a crook? >> i did later but he laughed in my face. he said you gave me access to those cards. >> how much did you get burned for? >> probably about $32,000. >> $32,000. that's what you owed your creditors at the end of this. >> right. they had no mercy.
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>> linda saw esther's life imploding. >> she is realizing, my god, he has taken me. now i don't have any money for my children. it wasn't like he had just robbed her. he had rob her children. >> with financial ruin came a hammer blow to esther's sense of self. >> i felt like i had been thrown in a pit. a dark pit. >> it was hard for her at one point to even function. on a physical level, an emotional level. it was a lot of tears. lots of crying. >> who did tim blair, tim dog turn out to be, the more you learned about him? >> evil. probably one of the most evil people i've ever met. >> languishing in a deep depression, her dignity in tatters, she lost all hope of seeing her money. she was about to see something extraordinary that would help her turn back from the edge. what she saw could open up a path to revenge and maybe
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justice. >> when we come back, how esther discovered she is not the first woman to be scanned online thanks to a story she saw right here on "dateline." >> this is an opportunity. how much did you send him? >> i send him $10,000. >> later, could two women turn the tables? >> i was freaking out. i could feel him patting me down my back. >> when "the perfect catch" continues. ♪ [ male announcer ] ok, so you're no marathon man. but thanks to the htc one x from at&t, with its built in beats audio, every note sounds amazingly clear. ...making it easy to get lost in the music... and, well... rio vista?!! [ male announcer ] ...lost. introducing the musically enhanced htc one x from at&t. rethink possible.
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her after she believed that she had been scammed by rapper tim blair. >> i woke up and then realized, as long as i'm sitting here crying and don't want to do the things that i love doing, then it is still happening. i had to flip and get back up. >> the turning point in esther's struggle to get back up came in the spring of 2009 when she saw
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an episode of "dateline." our story featured a southern california woman who not unlike herself had met a man of music through an online dating website. while that story would mark the start of an extraordinary friendship and partnership with the woman featured in our report. her name is noel stehling. >> i wanted to lay my cards on the table. i want to weed out the bad guys right away. >> back in 2007, noel stehling was a workaholic personal trainer and lifestyle coach living in newport beach. she was in her late 30s then. more than ready to swap the bar scene for a stable life with the right guy. she tried an internet dating site looking for digital candidates. >> let's face it. you reflect light very well. i would think you would be keeping guys away with a stick. >> i was looking for a professional, someone like me looking for a fuflt i wasn't
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looking for a party boy. i was for someone that was beyond that. >> she had been watching tv and saw an ad for a dating website called she signed up and was still bombarded with hits chug one from a guy claiming to be a great catch. >> his handle was greatcatch 2008. >> pretty bold. >> uh-huh. he was not short of confidence. >> greatcatch 2008 was paul kruger, a music producer who had posted on his profile a digital photo of himself looking snazzy in a tux. his stats, 50 years old, living in pennsylvania, a continent away, made him less than an ideal match. but his e-mails intrigued her. the 20-year music career. his story of burning out and a flop marriage. the separation from his teenage daughter. it all had a nice tug to it. this made it through noel's weed out the bad guys fire wall. >> he was not overconfident at all. he was like this is who i am. this is my life. i hope you're interested. let's talk some more.
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>> paul gave noel his number. she called him and he appeared to have the seasoned maturity noel was looking for and more. he was a graduate of the university of miami's distinguished music department. studies he had parlayed into a music career and a grammy on the shelf. it mattered to noel that this was a man of accomplishment and he had his own money. not just some loser from creepy >> he is dropping very big names. >> collaborators like quincy jones. >> actually he was a house guest of quincy. he said he helped with usher when he was just starting out at 10 years old. he work with back street boys. janet. he was in the studio with madonna, whitney houston. in fact, his grammy that he won was the duet with whitney houston and mariah carey. >> after eight weeks of lovey-dovey chitchat between california and pennsylvania, paul from online announced towed make a business trip across the atlantic. >> that's when he had to fly to
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scotland to work on michael's album. >> come on now. back up. michael being michael jackson? >> michael jackson. and quincy jones convinced him to work three of michael's songs because he was that good. >> now, michael jackson, of course, was still alive then but not exactly at the he said center of the pop culture consciousness. but paul was suggesting this comeback album he was on could be zillions. if she like, she could throw a little investment. >> if it flops, i will cover you no matter what. >> how much did you send him? >> i sent him $10,000. >> her $10,000 invest many could return up to 40% a year. that's $4,000. while nothing is a sure thing, this was a project backed by some big name. and the caring man that she was falling for now mixing michael jackson tracks in scotland. so it was only natural after
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three months of being virtual together that they would actually meet in person. paul's scottish adventure had wrapped up and he was back home in pennsylvania. they made a plan. noel would fly out east for a long weekend rendezvous in the almost neutral territory of atlantic city on the south jersey shore. and so it was that noel boarded a red-eye bound for atlantic city, not really concerned about what depth she was getting into or how far out she would wade. >> yergs i was meeting him for the first time in person. but i already knew him as far as i was concerned. >> noel took a cab straight to bali's casino hotel in new york city. it had been a nice little romantic movie for noel so far. but then, of course, there's always that pesky reality. noel looked at paul and did a mental blink. >> he told me he had gained some weight. i was prepared for something a little different than the photo he provided to me. i wasn't prepared for that.
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>> the online paul kruger, the debonair mustache prince, had tucked in a great many hearty meals since that photo was taken. >> i had that moment, oh, great. now i have a long weekend. i really did. this is going to be a very long weekend. >> but rather than beating a hasty retreat over a shared breakfast, noel took stock and decided that maybe paul wasn't so bad after all. she would give him a chance. >> i was just like, wait a minute. he is still that person i know on the phone. he has a good heart. that's good enough for me. >> after all, noel was a personal trainer. paul could be her new project. she looked past the gray hair or lack of it and she could maybe doing do have something about the paunch. she jumped right into her salvage work. >> we did a lot of walking on the boardwalk. i wanted to get him started on an exercise routine right away. >> when they got back to the hotel, noel was wowed by the rock star treatment lavished on paul by the head chef, the high end boutique managers, and the
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bowing and scraping casino staff. >> everywhere we went. >> did you ever say, yeah, yeah, i left my money in the room. can you cover this? >> n >> so he knew how to handle himself. >> very much so. >> she was having so much fun with paul, she didn't want to buzz their good time with worrying talk of business. and that $10,000 she had given hip was super stars quincy jones and michael jackson. but curiosity did finally get the better of her. >> he said it is going really well, noel. >> noel had already received a $900 return from paul. but understood she might have to wait a year before the big investment paid off. now it was time to bask in this nice long weekend with him. they gambled, wind and dined and ended up in bed. >> it did get romantic, so to speak, yes, it did. i didn't know where it would go from there. i was hopeful. >> paul was more than hopeful. he had a blueprint for the two of them. >> he did not want to continue a long distance relationship for a long period of time.
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he intended to move to miami. and he wanted me to go with him. >> noel hardly had time to think about such a huge step. because as she departed the casino hotel to catch a flight home, she checked her messages. and found one from a detective in pennsylvania. she called back immediately. the detective on the phone told noel that investigators had been digging around in kruger's history and found a couple arrests for theft and what they believe was a long career of deception. kruger never had been a producer to the stars he named. >> and he is like, he is not the man you think he is. he is a scam artist. >> noel was, take a number. likely victim number 13. the authorities had contacted her because they came across her $10,000 check to kruger in his bank account. >> i couldn't believe it. are you kidding me? >> in short order he was arrested at a casino, pleaded guilty to fraud and was then thrown in prison. >> your money is gone. >> absolutely.
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>> it is an awful thing to happen. >> it is. it is a terrible thing to happen. >> watching from her home in mississippi. she was glad to know she was not the first person in life to be taken in a similar flimflam. she would seek revenge against tim blair and eventually noel would be right by her side. from primal parts of herself, esther marched out on a mission she called journey to justice. esther was not sure where the road was leading her, or who she would meet along the way. but she was intent on setting out. >> coming up, tim dog used the internet to find esther. wait until you see what she found on the internet about him. >> she know he is out there and he is doing it to other women. that's when i had to get involved.
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financially. more than $30,000 in the hole. story on tv only added to her bitterness.
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>> i watched "dateline" and noel's story and i was crying. how company couldn't get justice in mississippi? >> in a state of desperation, she approached her county d.a.'s office. >> she was very persistent that she had been done wrong. not just civilly but criminally. >> the investigator for the d.a.'s office remembers the day in early 2008 when esther stood before him telling him her unlikely story. that she, a nurse, had just been ripped off by a hip hop star in an online dating scam. >> do you tell her, look, i'm on the criminal side of thing. what you have is a civil lawsuit against this person. >> that is actually what i thought when i first heard the case. >> and even though the investigator got esther's case to the state attorney general's office, esther quickly discovered her hard luck story couldn't turn the wheel of justice. >> nobody wants to go to bat for you. >> it is not enough money. it is not worth it to them. >> meanwhile her creditors were demanding payment. the mississippi mother of two
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took on a second job in a maternity unit. worked herself to exhaustion every day including weekends just trying to catch up with her bills. >> it was at a point where she needed money for just groceries and just gas and just basic necessities. she didn't have access to that. so she was sort of in a panic state. >> on the phone, esther said she begged tim in atlanta to give her her money back. >> he told her if she needed money, if she was going through anything, it was her own fault. >> i made some remark, tim you haven't even paid me one red penny. and he said if i send you a dollar, will it make you happy? >> did he really? >> yes, he did. >> with no help forthcoming from law enforcement, esther decided to take matters into her own hands. first she would need to brush up her pretty feeble internet skills. she had been able to find herself a man online. something that brought her nothing but heart ache but that was about the him of her mouse and key board abilities. pretty soon with the patient
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coaching of her daughter, she found a whole world of people out there chatting away. venting steam. filing documents. her goal was to make a legal case against tim blair, aka tim dog. esther the nurse became esther the relentless researcher. as she became more familiar with the computer, esther decided to track down noel from the "dateline" story. maybe she could help. >> and i signed on to facebook to find noel. i didn't even have a facebook account until i was searching for her. >> and lo and behold, she found noel. still licking her wounds, still living in california. >> the more she was telling me how frustrated she was and that her fear that she understand he is out there and doing it to other women, she was like, you were the last 13. i could be the first of many that are still going to come and then that's when i had to get involved. >> noel, who knew more than a thing or two about pirts gave esther valuable techie tips.
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inspired by noel, esther was starting to get this internet thing. now she was finding sites where she could do background checks. get ahold of business records. and there one day was information about tim blair. >> from what i could find online, he was booking mariah carey, madonna, and funds. >> hits about tim dog in the philippine, across the atlantic. >> you became an investigator yourself. >> i did. i think i've always been one though a little on the side. >> esther's eyes went pin ball tilt when she stumbled on a sight called diary of an urban street king. she found a story there a lot like her own. a woman raging that someone had taken her for as much as $30,000. who did she say this con man was? tim dog. >> we got a tip from this woman saying that, you know, tim took her life savings away and she
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bought him a car and she was funding his whole operation. and she is going to go report this to the police. >> jackie, the form he hip hop artist, fronts the hollywood street king blog. it so happens that jackie had first met tim dog in the 1990s. ten years later he said he offered tim the chance to collaborate on a project until he clued that the dog at any time just want a little bitty piece of it. >> i'm like, who is this guy? he is crazy. he wanted the whole enchilada. >> you are inviting him to the buffet and he is eating with both hands. so your collaboration was bust. >> totally. >> they parted on cordial enough terms. and it wasn't until 2009 that tim again popped up on jackie's radar. as his blog started posting story after story, angry allegations about tim dog. >> it became a message board for these ladies around the world talking about tim. >> weird private eyes and cops
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out there who didn't know dr. dre from dr. pepper were also following the posts about tim dog. >> it just took off from whatever you intended the blog to be. >> yeah. we had female from england, norway, australia, germany, using hollywood street king as their message board to talk about tim dog. and it was all negative. >> esther was tingling with what she was finding at her desk in mississippi and her new friend out in california, noel, was shouteding back, you go, girl. noel was totally caught up in esther's campaign to nail tim blair and haul him before a court on fraud charges. the two poured over the angry posts and found there was a growing sisterhood of the scam. the trail led all the way across the atlantic ocean to a woman in the netherlands. danielle's story was not about a box set of greatest hits but a
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stage full of prancing men. >> they were strippers. >> coming up, a strip show that wasn't. >> i was speechless. what do you mean? >> when "the perfect catch" continues. [ male announcer ] this father's day, get a dewalt 18 volt cordless drill with 2 batteries and charger for just $99. ♪ or get dad a campbell hausfeld twinstack compressor, complete with nail gun and other handy accessories for just $59. lowe's. never stop improving. ♪ ♪ [ male announcer ] you've been years in the making. and there are many years ahead.
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this is a town in the netherlands thousands of miles
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away from esther in mississippi, noel in california, and tim blair in atlanta. it is where danielle and her daughter make their home. one day when she was feeling low and there had been a lot of days like that for her at the time, she posted her tale of woe on an american website. a warning for women to be wary of a guy named tim blair. esther pilgrim read it with a shock of recognition, she told her new friend noel. >> it was very comforting for me. i cried when i found her story. >> she said the dutch woman, a stranger to her, an e-mail. >> i read her e-mail and itart crying. i was so happy to know that i was not alone. there was someone like me who went through the same. >> they began messaging and danielle joined jackie jasper's hollywood street king bulletin board. esther learned that danielle was also a single mother. a woman in her early 30s who worked as an account manager at
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an employment agency in holland. danielle, her story went, had been on myspace posting some cute new pictures of her daughter when up on the screen popped a compliment from someone named tim. >> he made a comment on a picture on myspace that i had for me and my daughter. i didn't know who he was. >> nonetheless, danielle was intrigued by this attention from someone all the way across the atlantic so she and this tim began to send e-mails back and forwards. >> he was not my type at all. he was just being nice to me. after a while it really seem that he cared. >> so after about three week of e-mails, danielle said tim called her. in the frequent phone conversations that followed, she said he told her about his music career as tim dog, the hip hop artist. how exciting was that, she thought. they chatted on and off for an entire year before tim invited danielle in 2006 to visit him in america and he visited her in the netherlands. after four years of friendship,
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danielle said tim made her an extraordinary proposition. he would turn her into an entertainment promoter. >> i really needed a new job. he said i trust you like no one else. you're my family. let's start an agency in holland. >> and you said? >> let me think about it. i was scared. >> because if there are documents to be signed, you're the signature. >> tim had dreamed up a sexy review and he wanted danielle to launch it in europe. the show was to be called the chocolate fantasy tour. >> there were five stripper, male strippers like similar like chippendale's but only black guys. >> you're going to book them into clubs in holland. ? exactly. a european tour. >> at the time, were you excited about it? >> very excited. >> danielle would become tim's business partner and once the show was over, she would take a hefty 20% of the profits. >> did you have to put money up to be a business partner. >> he told me to sell my car. >> and you sold your car. >> i sold my car.
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>> she said the money was invested in the business but she quickly discovered that selling the chocolate fantasy tour was no box of bonbons. she said she work 18-hour days booking venues with her own cash and obedientry sold the proceeds of the ticket sales to tim. >> every ticket that was sold, he made me transfer the money to him. >> but come opening night in december 2009, no dancers. the show was postponed, rescheduled, then canceled. danielle who by then said she shelled out about $15,000 of her own money to help sell tickets, demanded an explanation and was stunned by his response. >> a week before the show, tim told me did you really think there was a show? >> he said what? >> did you really think there was a show? so i just collapsed. i couldn't just -- i was speechless. what do you mean? >> you came unraveled at that point. >> of course. >> danielle suddenly believed
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the whole tour had been a scam just to make tim some cash. she meanwhile was out $15,000 and the clubs were coming after her, demanding cancellation fees. no job, no car, a daughter to support, and none of that was a fantasy. she fired off a blast at tim. >> he just answered me back. you were never my friend so i can't care what happened to you. i was just stunned. i couldn't believe there are people like that. >> to make matters worse, just as in the u.s., europe's economy had taken a nosedive. when no work turned up for her, she took a job previously so unthinkable, she couldn't tell her family and friends. >> it was at a strip club will i didn't have sex and i didn't have to take all my clothes off but still. >> did you feel dirty? >> terrible. really terrible. but nobody knew that it was a strip club. and i didn't want them to find out. especially my daughter. >> and tim dog was the person
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who got you in that circumstance. >> yeah. >> incass cndescent with rage, started her own online blog and she began hearing from others, about seven people in all from all over the world. >> people like me. >> similar stories, experiences. >> all have their own stories. >> names that haven't come forward. >> i was scared. i was scared myself. >> and you did not see any of this in the four years you had this cordial relationship. no. otherwise i would never have done it. >> stuck on the other side of the atlantic oceaner there was little danielle could do until she found esther online. >> she just gave me keys to a door she already opened. >> through that door walked someone else. a young woman from ohio who knew just what esther and danielle and noel before them had been going through. >> i just made a post back like hey, this is my e-mail address.
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>> the tim dog sorority was getting bigger, getting angrier, and getting organized. >> coming up -- an ex-girlfriend who didn't lose money to tim dog. it was much worse than that, she said. >> he tried to harm us. my daughter could have been harmed.
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who knows how much he robbed to fly under the radar where the police won't want to come after him? >> esther pilgrim in mississippi was down about $30,000 in credit card charges after buying into a fake business promoting a cd collection. danielle in the netherlands said
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she was out $15,000. blogging a tim dog review of male strippers that didn't show up. online in the blogosphere, esther found danielle and danielle in turn introduced her to a third woman with smoke coming out of her ears about tim blair, aka tim dog. with the ironic last name of trust. >> he was single, wanted children, wanted to get married. just hadn't found the right one. >> whitney was a 21-year-old psychology undergrad living in akron and working in the admissions department at a school. this pretty single mother and part time model had posted photos of herself online on a social networking site. as he had with esther and danielle before, a pop of someone on the computer screen saying hello. tim blair from atlanta. >> he wanted me to be in a video. it went from there to hey, let's be together. from the second e-mail, he was trying to fly me to atlanta. >> tim's bold as brass come-on
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raised her curiosity. like the other women she googleled up the intriguing headline that he was rapper known as tim dog. after a few months of back and forth online flirting, in may 2009, tim upped the romantic ante. >> he literally booked the ticket and serve me the confirmation to my e-mail. i work monday through friday so i left on a friday night. >> when she arrived in atlanta -- tim wasted no time taking whitney out on the town tim style. >> he took me to a strip club. granted it was like a five star meal but come. on classy. >> but tim made a good recovery, she says, and for the rest of her 24-hour visit, she had a great time. over the next six months she made two more visits to atlanta. and then tim made her an offer too good, she thought, to refuse. pack up your stuff and move down here with your daughter. >> he had told me we're going to get my daughter the best of
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preschool, you can work during the day for the company while she is in school and i can finish school at night. oh, my gosh. it will be perk. >> perfect. and paid for by tim. so the day after thanksgiving in 2009, whitney got in her car with her daughter and moved her life to atlanta. but it wasn't long after that she saw another side to her new boyfriend. he seemed suddenly distant. always so busy. cutting a new album in the studio, he told her. she saw him a couple of times a week. >> it didn't feel like we were together. even though he was vocalizing a lot. you always used to say, he needed a younger man. it was reverse psychology. oh, no, i don't. i need you. what's going on here? >> the longer she was with him, the more questions she had. like why was it that a hard core rapper like tim dog from the big bad streets of the bronx of long ago -- knew all the words to her daughter's tv cartoon show dora the explorer.
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and weird, she thought, how he could be so distant and at the same time still be making big plans for their future together. a new house, new car, joint bank accounts. >> i'm like, okay, why? you're the big strong man. you have all this money. everything in my whole body is telling me this is not right. >> whitney felt trapped inside his condo. she said tim did not like her to go around town on her own. >> he went from being this charming just very confident to almost, so manipulative. like very emotionally abusive. the way he would talk to me. and i've never in my life been talked to that way. >> add go to the claustrophobia, her car had a mysterious flat tire. she was grounded. tim insisted on repairing the tire himself. something that would later freak her out with suspicions. isolated in the apartment, she did a little snooping in tim's computer trash can. >> that's when i started finding little bits and pieces like he
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had put on a show. said jay-z might have been there. i think it was australia. one with chris brown didn't show up. hmm, so he is putting these things on the promotion. getting the money for the tickets and not putting on the shows. >> after six weeks of playing the live-in girlfriend, she decided to run for it. she grabbed her daughter and jumped in the car. remember, tim had replaced the flat. >> i'll driving, driving, driving, and my wheel is wobbling. >> so she pulled over to a gas station where a mechanic took a look at the wheel. >> he goes, somebody probably did this on that you recall. purposely put your tire on backwards. >> whitney was both dumbfound asked terrified. had tim purposely put her wheel on the wrong way? >> i felt like he knew i was not coming back and he tried to harm us. my daughter could have been hard. i could have been harmed. >> safe and sound back home in ohio, whitney tried to make sense of what she had been through.
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as esther learned her story, she decided to call the guy who had once worked with tim and what a biography he had. >> you know he has a wife, right? no, i at any time. did you know he had a daughter? who was my daughter's exact age. that makes sense why he knows dora the explorer songs. >> it started to make sense. tim's isolating her, his long absences from the apartment. he was leading a double life. >> i think he would wake one his wife. play with his daughter. tell her he's going to the studio, go to my house for a little while, kiss me on the cheek. i'm going to the studio. i'll be out all night. i'll be back in the morning. when he would come home and i was not home is when my tire was flat. yeah. >> back in mississippi, esther added whitney's story to danielle's from the netherlands and to the pile of other stories she had uncovered from as far afield as australia. maybe now the authorities would
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take her seriously. after more than a year of researching and building her case against tim blair, esther made yet another call to the district attorney's investigator. >> i left him a voicemail saying how i had went to war for my country and now i needed my country to go to war for me and it wouldn't. how company could not get justice in mississippi? >> you played your desert storm card. >> i did. i waved the flag. >> did it work? >> it did. >> when we come back, esther tries to turn the tables on tim. with a little help from a friend. >> you decided to become bait. >> yes. i just put my profile out there and my pictures and he connected with me. >> when "the perfect catch" continues. kidding me. sweetie, help us settle this. i say this and this is called southern hospitality. well, i call it the clean getaway. [ scoffs ] you're both wrong. it's the freshy fresh. everyone knows that.
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in august 2009, more than a year and a half after her first dismal visit, esther returned to the d.a.'s office and stood again before the investigator and once again she told her story. this time backing it up by showing the investigators all the stories she collected. and by now, he had heard other
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complaints about tim blair from women on that west coast website after esther iishly posted his contact information on the site. >> you had no idea what you were getting into. >> that's correct. i had a lawyer from new york call me, two or three e-mails from a victim from the netherlands, one from australia. i got a call from a woman, i believe she is in nashville, tennessee. >> so the investigator walk esther's story down the hallway and into the office of assistant d.a. steve. would he believe esther's complex tale of woe? >> esther is the most unique victim that i've come across as far as a victim of a scam. in the sense that she set aside whatever pride she had to tell her story. >> a lot of people are embarrassed that they've been kond by a conman. >> that's how they're successful. they call on not getting caught. what a tim blair would look for. >> what had he underestimated
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about her? his victim? >> courage. >> courage was all well and good but it wasn't immediately obvious whether a crime had even been committed. tim hadn't exactly held up esther at gunpoint. >> did you wonder early on whether you had a criminal case? or whether this was a good scammer will set his case up or set his scam up where a law enforcement agency or district attorney's office will just say go hire a civil attorney to prosecute this or to pursue these moneys. >> when he took a closer look at all the moving parts, the assistant d.a. saw what he believed was a pattern of dishonesty. beginning with the way tim and esther met. online dating. >> in fact he has absolutely no business being in a romantic relationship if he is married. >> then there were the credit card statements which seemed to verify esther's story of tim being a big spender on her line of credit. >> there were numerous very nice
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restaurants. $200 to blockbuster. balance transfers, cash withdrawals. he spend $25,000. >> as for the five cd box selection of tim dog's greatest hits, he contacted sony and it turned out the record company owned the rights to most of the tracks. >> all of those things combined really led me to believe that this is criminal. he lied in order to get something of value. >> but once the mississippi prosecutor decided a crime had been committed, what could he do about it? tim blair lived in atlanta. so did the mississippi d.a. have jurisdiction in esther's case? >> the spending occurs in atlanta. the wooing occurs in atlanta. a large number of the lies and deception occurred in atlanta. but what gives us jurisdiction is the phone call that promise her to take out these credit cards. which occurred in southaven. >> what made it more than a he said she said flip a coin action
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skags was esther's borderline obsessive record keeping. she had logged every phone call and all but laminated the entire history of her relationship with tim blair. >> now here was a civilian. she is not a lawyer. and she brings you basically the skeleton of a case all wrapped up in a box with a bow on it. >> skeleton, muscles, tendons, some skin, hair. she about did it all. >> esther's story persuaded the assistant d.a. in august 2010, a grand jury in de soto, mississippi, handed an indictment. but in atlantic where the d.a. had no jurisdiction, the arrest depended on cooperation with the authorities in atlanta and nobody knew when or if that might happen. esther's long shot case seemed to be at the bottom of a frosty pile. and her journey to justice at a dead end.
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esther had no reason to hope that would change until her new friend noel who by now knew all about tim dog, made a bold suggestion will. >> i said, okay, that's it. i'm done. we've got to stop this guy. so i offered up. why don't i put a profile out there? why don't i become a target for almost? >> her enemy had become your enemy. >> absolutely. >> in the fall of 2010, esther and noel came up with a plan with noel cast as a secret agent. the plan was for noel to cozy up with tim online. if possible, to set up a date with him, and then try to expose him as the swindler the women all believed him to be. >> noel, despite everything that happened to you, you decided to become bait. >> yes. >> after esther prepped noel with tons of information about tim's m.o., she logged on to esther's dating site. posted her own profile and laid in ambush for tim. >> i knew a lot about him. so of course i put my profile
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out there and my pictures. and we waited a couple days and he connected with me. >> what did you think? >> i was excited. i called esther. he connected with me! he send me an e-mail. i was overjoyed. excited. the game has begun. let's go. >> once tim and noel went from online to over the phone, she record conversations with him. >> i didn't realize you had three companies. >> out came the business proposals he is thor had coached her to expect. he will try to find your weak spot and use that advantage to get dominance. >> you don't really feel that way, do you? >> sometimes he was trying to find the nerve and he hit a nerve. but i hung up on him. had a good cry. and i talked with esther and the next day i got back on the horse. >> for you it is a high concept game. >> at the end of the day, someone has to do something. >> what was the game in your mine at that point?
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>> to get him arrested. >> noel and esther's plan was to lure him from atlantic to a concert in memphis. a few minutes' drive. once he arrived at the airport, they would range for him to be picked up but he would be chauffeured into the state line of mississippi where he could be arrested. the mississippi d.a.'s office is on board. >> i would have loved to have seen his face getting handcuffed. >> but esther and noel were not going to get that satisfaction. suddenly in december 2010 with cooperation from the authorities in atlanta, the arrest warrant on tim blair was in fact served. he was charged with fraud and entered a not guilty plea. after two weeks in jail, he was released on bond until his trial date. so would the two angry women have to back off now? not as they saw it. if tim blair was convicted of defrauding esther pilgrim at trial as they expected, then in the sentencing phase, the judge
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could hear evidence about other flimflams he had run. it might extend his prison time by ten years. so they lured him to mississippi and went into motion on plan b. getting documentary evidence of him still running scams even while awaying trial. so in march 2011, with tim blair awaiting trial, noel set out to expose a man she knew only by phone. just like the other women before her, it wouldn't be long before she was heading to atlanta on her very own date with tim dog. this would be a very special date. because noel would record her undercover mission using hidden cameras. >> oh, my gosh. you scared me. >> coming up -- >> i had to appear like we were on a real date. >> but was it a date with danger? >> i was freaking out. i could feel him patting me down my back. he is patting me down.
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>> when "dateline" continues. ♪
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this was all with exposing him. exposing his lies, exposing his game. >> in march 2011, noel who had been humiliated and ripped off by a conman was as she saw it on a seek undercover mission on behalf of her friend esther. to expose tim as a conman and gather evidence that could be used against him in court. >> i felt like even if it couldn't be used in court, anybody else who saw it would feel a better appreciation for what these women went through. >> noel's goal was to capture on tape any lies tim might tell. unmask how tim hooks women into business deals and expose his
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manipulation. and it would be a daring game of cat and mouse with one less noble goal. >> that we conned him. there's something to be said for that. we just need to right the wrong. >> with tim blair awaiting trial, noel set off from california to atlanta to meet tim for the first time. >> it was like, okay, this is it. this is the moment we've been waiting for. >> i was really pumped, nervous, i was anxious. >> she told him she had a conference coming up in atlanta and he agreed to meet her for a date in the lobby bar. by this time she had called "dateline" to let us know what was unfolding and invited us to follow her. as she was fitted with "dateline's" hidden cameras and mikes, the whole undercover enterprise suddenly became much more tense. >> i'm an amateur. i've never done this. i was really concerned. all that was going through my head is this guy, when i meet him, he is going to hug me. >> noel was terrified that tim
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might feel the hidden camera and microphone. she walked into the bar and waited for tim to show. in addition to a camera sewn into her blouse, "dateline's" other hidden cameras recorded her from nearby vantage points. >> i felt like i was playing a secret agent. there were a lot of things going. on i had to appear natural even though i was very nervous and i had to appear like we were on a real date. so it was about not getting caught. >> and there was tim. checking out the room before joining noel. >> you know how you have that kind of, the hair comes up on the back of your head like somebody is watching. and they turn and look and there he is. >> oh, my gosh. you scared me. >> they talked a bit but five minutes later, tim got up. was he suspicious? >> that was kind of a cheap hug you gave me. >> oh, shut up. shut up. i was shocked. >> i was freaking out. because we hadn't even started yet. and he came and he embraced me and i could feel him patting me
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down on the back. he was like, he is patting me down. i can't believe it. >> even after tim found no wires, he seemed to be wary of noel. >> a good journalist. an investigator. >> then tim seemed to relax. >> cheers! cheers, finally meeting you. you're actually real. >> tim is very easy to talk with. because he is the one doing all the talking. you don't have to say anything. in fact, you probably don't even have to be in the room. >> home is where the heart is to me. you're welcome to visit. >> are you a new yorker or atlanta? >> i'm a new yorker always. >> soon there was awkwardness as tim danced around questions about his marital status. >> you've never been married. hear me out. >> it's a question. >> have you never been in love?
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>> yeah. i'm in love all the time. are you kidding me. >> yeah. >> i mean with a woman. >> yeah. i even came close two times. >> what happened? >> they're not ready. >> oh, tim said that he is for his partner. that he has never been married. and doesn't have children. >> noel felt she had accomplished at least one of her goals. exposing tim's dishonesty about his marital status. then tim got down to business. he said he was producing two tv pilots for vh1 and had an idea for a movie with a big star cast. he dropped names. >> i've had connections with denzel. >> with who? >> denzel washington. i don't want to be bought out. >> tim offered noel a business partnership. the chance to raise cash for the movie.
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>> i might want you to, i guess an investment group of people who work in an industry. >> in the movie, you mean? >> to produce a film. we all share in it. >> once sell it to the investor? >> no. once we sell it to the studio. >> then came the tim dog pledge of allegiance. >> there is a slim chance, if you want to be around in my life. do not ever consider, much less say anything that resembles turning your back. can you promise that? >> yeah. >> okay. i'm feeling like -- >> right. if you want to know what's my biggest issue in my life, that's
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my issue from childhood. it will push me away from you [ bleep ]. >> and that's when the date turned even more bizarre. because tim suggested how he might discipline noel and women like her. >> she just needs a thrashing. that's what she needs. get her alone somewhere and just thrash her [ bleep ]. >> oh, my -- >> yes, daddy, okay. >> i was really getting upset. how can you talk to me like this? you don't know me that well. you don't have the right to talk to me like that. >> all that was left was seal the deal as tim offered noel a job, of his life partner once of course he had dumped his present girlfriend. >> do you want the job or not? >> i don't want to you fire me. i hate getting fired. >> if you don't take the job, you don't have to get fired. you won't even be hired.
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>> the date, their first face to face meeting had barely wound down when tim suggested taking the relationship to the next level. in fact, three levels higher to noel's hotel room. >> dude. he wants to walk me up to my room. >> after some quick i'm not that kind of girl thinking, she convinced him they could meet the next day. after noel said goodbye, she breathed a huge sigh of relief. her secret mission was over. and she felt she had scored a huge psychological victory. >> it was nice to con the con. and it felt really good. it was really empowering. >> while tim did nothing illegal in his meeting with noel, in their minds, noel and esther had gathered evidence against him that could maybe be used in the penning fraud case. conviction could send him away for up to ten years. the people versus tim dog was heading to the courthouse. >> when we come back, remember esther's origin investigatement
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in those cds? it turns out they really do exist. and that was not the only surprise the rapper had in store. >> were you tempted? >> absolutely not. [ indistinct conversations ] ♪ ♪ [ female announcer ] mango pineapple real fruit smoothie from mccafé. two of your favorite fruits come together to create a smoothie made just for you. a simple joy of refreshing memories. ♪ support team usa and show our olympic spirit right in our own backyard. so we combined our citi thankyou points to make it happen. tom chipped in 10,000 points. karen kicked in 20,000. and by pooling more thankyou points from folks all over town, we were able to watch team usa... [ cheering ]
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in the summer of 2011 as tim blair's trial date approached, esther was anxious and filled with anticipation. but she wasn't anticipating the surprises tim had up his sleeve. >> he offered to pay me my $25,000 if i would drop the charges. >> were you tempted at all? >> absolutely not. >> esther that she was convinced any cash tim might give her would have been scammed from other women. >> so it was more than the money at this point. you wanted to take him off the street. >> right.
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>> while she wanted tim to feel the full wrath of mississippi law, tim's lawyer said there was no crime here at all. >> you've got two individuals that have entered into some sort of transaction together. how this matter came to be a criminal matter, i don't understand. but for the ferocity with which this woman has pursued the case. >> a very good word when you talk about esther pilgrim. >> it is indeed. i've never seen someone devote her life, it seems, to one single goal and that is to bring down tim blair. the bottom line is he received no gain from this. >> but mississippi prosecutor steve disagreed and thought tim should face a stiff penalty. >> i was looking at a minimum of two years to serve followed by probation. esther wanted him to go to prison. >> mississippi saying, tim, felony conviction, two years, take it or leave it? >> correct. >> then tim produced another surprise. photographic evidence that he was telling the truth.
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there it was. his five cd box set collection all warehoused and ready to go. so had tim blair been right all along? was this a business venture with good intentions that simply innocently ended up in the ditch? >> here, steve, here's a five cd box set. we actually had them printed and here's our defense. our defense is, i tried to do everything on the up and up. >> now esther says tim never told her the cds existed and the rapper hadn't approached sony to get the rights to release them. but the prosecutor was concerned, the photos might have been persuasive evidence at trial of a business deal gone sour and not much more. so he decided to change the charge to grand larceny or theft. a large less serious than fraud. >> from my perspective, a felony conviction, putting the world on notice that he is a thief, would prevent somebody else from
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getting scammed again. >> in the american courthouse, there are trials and there are plea deals. as it turned out, tim blair would get the latter. and that meant noel's hidden camera recordings would not be used as evidence. >> mississippi versus timothy blair. >> tim did show up for a court appearance with his wife and daughter to make the deal his lawyer brokered official. he entered a best interest plea of theft, meaning he disagreed with the charge while admitting theft would likely be proven in court. he was sentenced to five years probation and has to pay esther back $19,000. though her total debt to the credit card companies was $32,000. eventually, the felony could be scrubbed from his record all together. >> from a practical perspective, tim blair came away a huge winner. and from a legal perspective down the road, all of this is going to be gone. and tim blair is not going to have a record and tim blair can
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say, i never admitted any guilt in that hearing. >> outside the courthouse, esther pilgrim's journey to justice had turned bittersweet. her persistence had turned tim dog into a felon but he was not sent to prison. >> i feel like he got off easy. in the sense that not only did he not have to do any jail time but that he did not even have to pay back the full amount he stole. >> esther did not get justice. aster did not get justice. danny did not get justice. all these other women that are involved, or that had been involved with tim, they did not get justice. no one did. tim -- tim won. that's really sad. >> but how did the rapper himself see this whole strange story? the charges and the angry women pursuing him. you'll hear from tim dog himself next. >> rappers, we go through this all the time. it is kind of a form of extortion.
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>> and coming up next friday on "dateline" -- she was a young teacher, a newly wed, lovely and kind. >> she was my best friend. my kindred spirit. >> someone left her on a winding, dark country road dead. >> remember to say no, no, no over and over. >> who could have done that? >> nobody tried to stop. why didn't they slam on the brakes? >> but that wasn't all that was strange. this was no typical hit and run. >> you usually see tire tracks. there was no evidence of glass. no evidence of debris from the roads. >> what happened to justine? [ morgan ] lopez lomong started running when he was six and he didn't stop for three days and nights
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tim blair, the rapper called tim dog. >> esther pilgrim. who is she? >> she is a woman who i trusted. a woman who i believed cared about me genuinely. she said she was a christian. you lower your guard when you're dealing with, you know, fellow christians. >> he said she contacted him. not the other way around. and he wasn't disappointed when he met her. >> she was really, really cool. we were both kind of nervous when we first met. but she was very sweet. >> sweet and knowledgeable about
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music. >> she was a fan and she knew 90 records. i guess that fed into my ego. i can, you know, i can pursue this. >> clear something up. are you married at the time? >> yes. i was separated. ? you were married but separated. >> yes. >> he said he was feeling a little shaky after the separation and that's why i was aloof with esther. tim said it was esther who wanted the relationship. esther who drove the 400 mile to atlanta twice and not the other way around. what do you think she was for? >> marriage. i think she was looking for someone to take care of her. and i think her original intentions were pure. her methods were not. >> once she found out that he was a hip hop star, esther wanted to benefit from his success. >> she offered to invest in one of my projects. >> which was what?
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>> i was attempting to offer sony the opportunity to distribute my new projects in connection with the old ones. >> tim said he was happy to have esther involve in the five cd box set collection. >> we did talk about how it could benefit her and yes, we did talk about what she could do and provide for our families. both of it is did that. >> did you tell her it was a presold deal? >> no. despite the major dispute over the music rights, rights held by sony, tim was preparing to let them distribute the five cd box set. he thinks he, esther and sony would have made a killing. >> $2 million is nothing to sneeze at. >> you thought you were at that with this project. the box collection. >> i know i'm looking at more than that. >> tim said once esther realized they would not be a lovey-dovey couple, she decided to sabotage the box set deal. >> that's when her jealous
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streak came out. she went ballistic. >> that's when he said esther called neo flix and let them have an earful about low down tim dog ripping her off. that, he says, gave neo flix cold feet about dealing with him at all and he says that esther's meddling cost him a lot of money. >> i lost probably $400,000 of money because she contacted them. >> so you got creamed in this. >> of course i got creamed. i didn't go to the media. i didn't say her name. >> he said it is only natural he should feel resentful toward esther and her demands. >> what do you want me to do you? slander my name but you want me to pay me back. >> if i send you a dollar, will it make me happy? >> she denies offering her a single dollar when she was strapped for cash. >> this never happened. >> he said he did give her money to pay off the credit cards and fully intended to reimburse the rest that he owed. gifts and expensive dinners come
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with the territory when you're wooing well heeled investors as he says he was. >> look. if this was the other way around, it would be a joke. if it was a guy who spent money on a female, lavish restaurant dinners and jewelry and clothing, you guys would be like, what do you want us to do? you gave her the money. you did it. >> did you sting her? was this a con you ran on esther pilgrim? >> no. it wasn't. in fact, this deal, she destroyed it. >> as he scoffs at the allegation that he i had to with her emotions just so he could get at her bank account. it was a relationship, a rocky one as it turned out, he says, but no different from millions of others. >> if i was going to fraud her, i would say my name was bobby joe. i would get me a boat and i would be gone. ? have the artist formerly known as tim dog. >> i told her who i was. she was at my house. she stayed with me. so i'm operating under the guise
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that this is my girlfriend. i can trust her. >> as for danielle in the netherlands, he said she contacted him first and he denies duping her over the chocolate fantasy tour. >> she was a promoter. i'm a promoter. my agreement is i will deliver the talent. you will do everything else. you don't want to do your part, then it takes away my responsibility. >> tim said he canceled the deal because he believed she was stealing ticket receipts. an allegation she denies. >> so she making all this up. >> she is a woman. so there is a weakness to that. right? put me, her, and esther in a room. strap lie detectors to all of us. i'll be there early for that. it's a lie. >> you'd better bring a helmet and pads if you get put in that room with the two of them. >> i probably would. >> and what about the allegations he was falsely promoting concerts with big name
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artists like ma do not, a jay-z and chris brown? >> people say you left them holding the bag. >> it's a lie. >> until tim pleaded guilty to theft, he had no criminal record. looking back, he believes esther and danielle were in cahoots. >> it is a form of extortion. >> as for whitney from ohio, he dismisses her as a gold digger like the others. >> basically it was, i was her sugar daddy and i was a sugar daddy that wasn't shelling out. >> why are you looking for women online? you were married. >> i wasn't really looking for women. i'm no different than any guy looking at porn and chatting with a female. these are very attractive women. guilty as charged. i'm a sucker for beautiful women. >> tim doesn't think of whitney as a relationship at all. it was a weekend. not any six weeks.
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so what was up with her car? did you sabotage her wheel? >> i remember that day. i put the lug nuts on backwards. i was in a rush. i was not paying attention. i'm not trying to commit murder. >> she doesn't have a financial complaint about you. it is more of a crime of trust and of the heart. >> what's requesting to be the question? >> what's going on? another woman has a game going on with you, that you're not playing fair. sometimes it's money and sometime it's not. >> they're all women i had personal dealings with. and it ended badly. >> and when you find the right one -- >> no, not living off the women. >> sure, he might have blown off some steam and said some bad things about the women who accused him but he has never claimed to be mr. nice guy. >> if the authorities want to come after me for that, then we all know why they're doing it. >> which is? >> i'm black. do you think this would be a case if i was a software develop
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in stanford or something like that? no. i'm tim dog. i'm a black man. i'm a rapper and a black man. that's a hot juicy story. you know? it's hot. >> he said he never had a chance once the grand jury bought into esther's story. >> a black man cannot get a fair trial in mississippi. >> you lost that case. >> i don't think i lost the case. >> what's good about it for you? >> what's good about it is i get to put it behind me in a few years and i get to pay her money that i always agreed and always said i was going to pay. but i don't have to be obligated to this woman for anything in my professional or personal career. so that's a win for me. >> why did you take a plea? >> who will be my peers? some old white ladies that will sympathize with her? >> tim blair said he is publishing a book called who killed hip hop and he is still
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working to kick start tim dog's stalled music career. and since his guilty plea, he has been back on at least one dating website. esther is not letting it go yet. she has hopes of making a federal case out of tim dog if she can coax others across the country to come forward with their stories. danielle said she'll join any federal case if nonu.s. citizens are allowed. over in the netherlands, she has just opened a fashion boutique. she doesn't carry a male stripper line of apparel. >> as for whitney in ohio, she is focusing on school and has moved to atlanta. really. >> i feel like i know too much about him for him to scare me. i know he is a coward and i'm not worried. >> as for noel, her hidden camera adventure inspired a light bulb of a business idea. setting up a side line career. backgr
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women who may have popped up on your screen looking for a date. >> your heart doesn't have a brain. so we're going to be the brain behind the heart for everybody. of like that. >> footnote. noel recently got married to a guy she didn't meet online. online. where you can still find tim dog, the young hard core rapper. online where perfect strangers can come together in the most interesting ways. for better or for worse. for richer or for poorer. >> that's all for now. i'm lester holt.


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